A memorial garden commemorating the Chinese poet Xu Zhimo (1897-1931) was formally opened on 10th August by Xu's grandson Tony. Xu was an associate member of King's for eighteen months in the early 1920s, during which time he became closely acquainted with the Bloomsbury Group of artists and writers.
In 1928, he wrote his most famous poem, 'Second Farewell to Cambridge', which has subsequently been learnt by millions of schoolchildren in China. The poem's first and last lines have been carved into a granite stone at the entrance to the garden, which took three years to complete and was the result of the vision of Senior Horticulturalist Steven Coghill. It is designed on Taoist and Buddhist principles and merges English trees with plants native to Xu's home region of Haining.
King's Fellow and Founder of the Cambridge Rivers Project, Alan MacFarlane, said:
The garden celebrates the shared culture of East and West. It is a fusion between philosophies and cultures, which contains special calligraphy by famous Chinese, including Mo Yan [author and winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature] illustrating the poem.
As part of the opening, Xu Zhimo's grandson Dr Tony Hsu was presented with a limited edition pen designed by Onoto in commemoration of Xu's time at King's. The pens are available to purchase via the Shop at King’s and Onoto’s website. For each pen sold, Onoto will make a donation to support international graduate students at King’s.